Lichen simplex chronicus is a skin condition that causes thick, scaly patches on the skin. It often develops in areas where the skin has been repeatedly irritated or scratched. This condition is also known as neurodermatitis, as it is believed to be caused by nerve signals that trigger an intense itching sensation.
The patches of skin affected by lichen simplex chronicus may be reddish-brown, grayish, or even black in color. They may be rough to the touch and feel scaly or warty. The affected skin may also feel thickened or leathery, and may be accompanied by intense itching or burning sensations.
While the exact cause of lichen simplex chronicus is not known, it is believed to be related to chronic irritation or inflammation of the skin. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, insect bites, or repeated rubbing or scratching of the affected area. Chronic fungal infection is a common trigger for the development of Lichen simplex chronicus, and presence and persistence of such fungal infections is often due to underlying borderline or frank diabetes. Treatment of fungal infections in such cases does produce improvement in the symptoms but addressing the root cause of diabetes is essential for preventing the recurrence of the condition.
There are several treatments available for lichen simplex chronicus, depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may be treated with over-the-counter anti-itch creams or lotions, while more severe cases may require prescription medications such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants.
In addition to medication, there are several lifestyle changes that can help manage the symptoms of lichen simplex chronicus. Avoiding harsh soaps or detergents, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and keeping the affected area clean and dry can all help reduce irritation and inflammation of the skin.
It is important to seek treatment for lichen simplex chronicus, as chronic scratching and itching can lead to complications such as skin infections or scarring. If you are experiencing persistent itching or skin irritation, speak to your healthcare provider about possible treatment options.
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Telephone Follow Up
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Consultation (Consultant Doctor) £150 (not inc. in tests)
Consultation (Specialist Nurse) £60 (inc. in tests)
Bacterial Culture & Sensitivity test £150
Fungal Culture & Sensitivity test £150
Bacterial s16 RNA PCR test £250
Fungal s16 RNA PCR test £250
Skin biopsy (with consultant) £250
Medications (in clinic) £30/course
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Page reviewed by Dr. Manoj Malu (Clinical Director)
Last reviewed date: 16 February 2023
Next review due: 16 February 2026
Whilst this content is written and reviewed by sexual health specialists, it is for general guidance only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your clinician.
References & Further Reading
- Mount Sinai: Lichen simplex chronicus Information
- Dermnet: https://dermnetnz.org/topics/lichen-simplex
- StatPearls: Lichen Simplex Chronicus
- British Association of Dermatologists: Lichen simplex
- MSD Manuals: Lichen Simplex Chronicus
- E Medicine: Lichen Simplex Chronicus
- Skin Sight: https://skinsight.com/skin-conditions/lichen-simplex-chronicus/
- British Medical Journal: Lichen simplex chronicus – Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
- Osmosis: Lichen Simplex: What Is It, Causes, Treatment, and More